It is time for Action Movie Friday, where I treat an action movie like an action movie and not like a drama and stuff. All movie reviews are subjective and while I may like something, you might think it’s shit, and vice versa!
Title: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre: action, adventure, fantasy
Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Dean O’Gorman, Aidan Turner, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, Jed Brophy, Mark Hadlow, Adam Brown, Ian Holm, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Adam Serkis, Sylvester McCoy, Manu Bennett, Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mikael Persbrandt, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, John Bell, Peggy Nesbitt, Mary Nesbitt, Billy Connolly, Sarah Peirse
Director: Peter Jackson
Writer: Fran Walsh, Phillippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo Del Toro and JRR Tolkien (Book)
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Budget: Aprox: $250 Million
Box Office: $955 Million
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 59%
Smaug has attacked Lake Town. War is coming. War between men, elves, dwarves and orcs. Bilbo Baggins has no desire to see war. He wishes that everyone could be at peace. He also fears that Thorin has gone mad. Mad with dragon fever, a lust for gold. Bilbo risks his life to try and stop war, but war comes anyways. Thorin must throw off his madness in time to help defeat the orcs and goblins. And Bilbo must risk his life again in order to help Thorin.
Last time in the Hobbit Trilogy, Kili was hurt for added drama and Tauriel was trying to save him, and oh right, Smaug was coming to burn Lake Town. The third movie covers Smaug’s attack of Lake Town through the Battle of the Five Armies and Bilbo’s return to the Shire. As there were some complaints that this movie was a continual battle, I double checked, the Battle of the Five Armies didn’t start until over an hour into the film. So, only half the movie was a battle!
Let’s recap. The first movie, The Unexpected Journey was the story of Biblo’s acceptance by the dwarves as a member of the company. The second movie, ticked all the plot check boxes for the book and Bilbo wasn’t as important as he was in the book. So, where does that leave the third movie? Well, an odd mix, because they had to incorporate the changes they made from the second movie, a bigger role for Bard, the Master, and Legolas and Tauriel, with the additions they were using from the appendix, what Gandalf and the white council were doing, where the orcs came from and keep to the plot points of the book. Which granted at this stage, the book went full speed ahead at a rapid clip and Bilbo was often left a bystander to the entire affair.
Here, in the tail end of the journey, Bilbo plays an incredibly important part. In Tolkien’s world, hobbits stand for a lot of things, most of them homely and simple. Here at the end of the Hobbit, Bilbo stands for the man who is unaffected by wealth and only desires peace. While there are a many good people among the dwarves, men and elves, Bilbo the Hobbit is the one who is willing to give up his share of the treasure to ensure peace. An acorn is more important to him than mounds of gold. It was the experience and the journey that enriched his life. The people that he met. Not the gems and treasures in the dragon’s hoard.
In fact, Bilbo tried to save Thorin from himself. He tried to help Thorin against the dragon sickness. He almost go through to him several times. It was only when Bilbo saw that Thorin was going to be stubborn to the point of death, did he go and turn over the Arkenstone (which they probably should have explicitly said wasn’t to be part of the shares) to Gandalf, Thranduil and Bard in hopes that Thorin would see reason. So in the end, Bilbo became a player. He applied his knowledge of theft and the world and used the ring to best advantage. In that way, the movie succeeded in making part of the film about Bilbo.
I say part of the film because since they expanded the last bit of the book so much, the last movie was also about Thorin. His rise, his fall and his rise again. Sure, there was a bit about Bard and how his family was more important to him than leading anything. (Too bad Bard, we all know how this ends according to the book. You aren’t getting out of it that easily.) And there was the wrapping up of the story line of the star crossed “love” of Kili and Tauriel. Now, the last was confirmed executive meddling. I think they did a good job. They showed us Thorin’s madness. They showed him pulling out of it and his redemption by giving heart to the dwarves in battle with his charge out of the gate.
The movie had good emotional beats. At points it made me laugh, at points it had me on the edge of my seat and other points made me cry. There were a few bits of dialogue that they neglected to use from the book that I missed, but if you haven’t read the book, you won’t know the difference. (Mostly the bit with Dain. The sod off was a silly addition.) With this movie and the first movie being so well done, I don’t know how the second was bungled so badly. One cookie.
Now, explosions can be hard in medieval movies as I have explained before. So, I am lenient. And I’ve watched it several times now and the troll with the ram on its head always makes me go “What were they thinking?” And will in this case substitute for an explosion. (Yes, I know, Smaug burned down Lake Town, but that was plot necessary and what dragons DO.) One cookie.
War pig! War goats! BIG WERE WORMS. Choreography where Legolas tries to outdo the Lord of the Ring’s trilogy, parts where I go, “No, Thorin, it isn’t that easy.” Galadriel going up against Sauron. Saruman fighting wizard style. All very entertaining. One cookie.
Once again, there weren’t a lot of women in this movie. Tauriel gets sidelined as a love interest the most in this movie. Legolas didn’t need her help to go to Gundabad, He did it to keep her from going with Kili. She gets a good moment, and I do mean moment, when she confront Thandruil and tries to keep him from leaving in the city of Dale during the battle. But mostly, she is a love interest and it’s sad to see how she went from a character with a lot of potential to a fight against Bolg where she is definitely on the losing end all because of angst and drama. I’m taking a bite of the cookie (as my cookie isn’t cut up into thirds, a quarter is all I can take.)
Fortunately, there are two other women to help take away the bitter taste, Galadriel and a Lake Town woman named Hilda who came out of nowhere to steal our hearts. Galadriel and the White Council go to Dol Guldor to free Gandalf from the Necromancer and fight him, revealing the Necromancer’s true identity. And who defeats him, Galadriel. She expends quite a bit of power and is indeed, quite terrifying.
The real surprise of this movie is Hilda. It isn’t a large part. She’s not a great woman of power like Galadriel. She’s not a ranger and warrior like Tauriel. But Hilda does make her voice heard. She stands up to Alfrid. She helps Bard and in the battle she is the one who rallies the women to help the men. I wish there were more women like her in movies.
When a film maker becomes so immersed in a world like Peter Jackson did and is given so much money and has had so much time on the sets. There truly isn’t a lot that can be said about the setting. Nothing threw me out of this movie like the Mirkwood did with the last one. For the most part, the movie is very concentrated in the setting of Erebor. And I didn’t care about the were worms. One cookie.
The last Hobbit movie was very emotional and on the edge of my seat experience. My only complaint was what they did with Tauriel’s character. It was a waste of a good character but was known to be executive meddling. Four and three quarters gingersnaps!